Friday, August 29, 2008

I was right?

When I went out on a limb on Tuesday and suggested Sarah Palin would make sense as McCain's vp pick, I was expecting to be wrong, as usual.

It seems I was right. Who thought it possible.

I think Palin is a brilliant pick for McCain. As I said on Tuesday:

In addition to the candidates I've named as possibilities for the spot, I'd like to add Sarah Palin, the governor of Alaska. A lot may depend on the result of today's primary where the state's Lieutenant Governor, and Palin protogé, is running against the incumbent Republican for the right to run for the U.S. House of Representatives. Palin may be reluctant to accept the veep nomination if it means both her and Sean Parnell are running for national office which would mean, in the event they both won, control of the state would be handed back to the corrupt wing of the Alaska Republican Party she has recently defeated for control (UPDATE: This may not be as big of a concern, Palin's attorney general would succeed as governor, though this individual would arguably be more vulnerable than Palin or Parnell and the idea of both running for national office would still be a concern).

Palin is a strong candidate in a lot of ways. She is a reformer who has beaten down the corruption in Alaska which is so severe it would make most of the dirty tricksters in Washington blush. She is an outsider which will help provide credibility to McCain's argument that he would change how things are done. She is a woman who could help McCain make further inroads into the alienated Clinton voter and who has a compelling life story. The religious right would be totally energized by her candidacy and might turn out in similar-to-2004-numbers for a mother of five who is ardently pro-life.

If the Obama campaign or other Democrats want to criticize her for being inexperienced, McCain can say "I've served my country my whole life, first in the Navy, then in the House and then in the Senate. I want to be your president because I have always put my country first and through my experience, I think I can continue to do that as your president. Senator Obama, an outsider without a lot of experience, is criticizing Governor Palin's experience. Her experience is that of having battled corruption her whole time in public life and as serving as chief executive of a state. Senator Obama's experience consists of giving a popular speech in 2002, getting elected to the Senate in a race that was virtually non-contetested and after a year of few notable accomplishments there announcing his candidacy for president."

McCain's people will ask which is better - a change candidate without the experience to lead who needs to pick a Washington insider as his running mate in order to be sure he can govern or a change candidate with decades of service to country who is able to pick a less experienced running-mate, who has more experience (they could argue) than Obama, who can bring a real outsiders perspective to the West Wing.
According to Jonathan Martin, the Obama people are already mocking her lack of experience. But, I think the Obama campaign might want to note an old proverb about glass houses.

First, Sarah Palin is running for vice president, while Obama is running for president. There should be a higher threshold for the latter, but I think that the argument could be made that Palin is nearly as experienced as Obama.

Obama has no experience as a chief executive of any arm of government. Most of Palin's experience is at the executive level. The Obama campaign is mocking that she represented a community of 5-7 thousand people (it grew substantially during her tenure), but Obama's folks should note she led that community, not just represented it, while Obama's experience comes largely from being the non-executive representative of a Senate district with about 60,000 people. When one is discussing the leadership of a country of 300,000,000 people the difference between 6,000 and 60,000 is minute.

So let's do a little bit of a blow-by-blow comparison.

From 1992-1996, Palin was a non-executive member of town council, Obama had no political experience

From 1997-2004, Palin was the chief executive of her town, ran unsuccessfully for lieutenant governor and served for two years as Ethics Commissioner on the state utility regulator, Obama was a non-executive member of the Illinois Senate and ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. House of representatives

From 2005-2008, Palin continued as chief executive of her town until becoming governor in December 2006 where she has served since, Obama was a non-executive member of the U.S. Senate and after two years ran essentially full-time for president


Rob said...

This could become interesting.

Basically, people from the Governor's office (including her husband) have been pressuring the State Troopers to fire Gov Palin's former brother-in-law. The ex-bro-in-law (who is no class act by any stretch) is currently in a custody battle with the Governor's sister.

nbt said...

Ex-point guard, hockey mom and the head of the Alaskan National Guard. Great choice Johny!

nbpolitico said...

Rob don't get too caught up in spin. One flunky in her office made one call, the governor's office voluntarily handed over tape of said call, the Democrats in the legislature continue to investigate but commend the governor for her cooperation.

Anonymous said...

You seriously think her time as city councillor and mayor of Wasila is relevant to national office?;jsessionid=75E769DCF7098A1220566538FB13F6D8?diaryId=7821

Wasila is basically a bedroom community to Anchorage whose leading employers are box store developments like WalMart. By your rationale, the mayor of New Maryland is perfectly qualified to be Prime Minister of Canada.

Obama's experience is limited, but he was a US Senator and worked on national security issues like loose nukes (he led a major effort there with a Republican Senator from Indiana). He knows his way around Washington. Plus, he's been running for President for two years -- he's had a tonne of national exposure and had to address national issues on a daily basis.

Abe Lincoln and Eisenhower had limited experience, but the former was a Congressman and the latter a Commander of US forces, they had some exposure to Washington.

I don't get your personal hatred of Obama, frankly it's quite immature -- like voting for the candidate you would most like to "have a beer with."

Anonymous said...

...and representing a complex and diverse district in Chicago - a city with a reputation for having a tough political scene - counts for more than just being a city councillor in an Anchorage suburb.

nbpolitico said...

I have no hatred of Obama. I simply find him to be very arrogant and lacking in substantive plans to back up his lofty rhetoric and ideals.

I don't suggest by any means that being mayor of Wasilla gives Palin the kind of experience necessary to be president. However, that experience is at least as relevant as being a state legislator.
Since 2005, Obama has been a U.S. Senator. Since 2006, Palin has been a state governor. Both positions are quite relevant to preparing one for being president. A senator gets familiarity with federal issues, a governor learns how to run an executive branch of government.
Since 1964, every person elected president has been an incumbent, a former governor or vice president. Americans seem to think executive experience is more relevant.

I would not, however, argue Palin is more experienced than Obama. Nor does she need to be, she is running for *vice* president, not president.

Her experience is comparable to Obama's, while she is running for a largely ceremonial post and Obama is running for commander-in-chief of the most powerful military in the world.

I am not trying to take sides here, as a left-of-centre Canadian, I am far more inclined to back a candidate like Obama than McCain.

But as a political observer, I can't help but see the pitfalls of Obama's campaign.

The arrogance of Obama and moreso of his campaign staff will be his undoing.

It is not a good idea to enter into a debate on the experience of your opponent's vice presidential candidate when you are comparably inexperienced.

It is not a good idea to uses phrases like "we are the ones we've been waiting for" and "in 2016, I'll be finishing up my second term as president".
It is not a good idea to photoshop the presidential seal to incorporate the Latin for "yes, we can" and Obama campaign paraphanalia.

Voters don't like to be prejudged and complacency and arrogance are the most dangerous things to afflict a campaign.

My comments do not reflect an opposition to Obama, they reflect an observation that his style and his campaigns approach are likely to hand McCain a win in an election that should give the Democrats a historic landslide.